X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
X-Men Origins: Wolverine Movie Poster Image
More brutal action than in earlier X-Men films.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 38 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 113 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The messages are a little mixed. Although the film's ultimate message is that mercy is better than vengeance and that human beings and mutants can make the choice not to kill, this realization comes after a lot of people (and mutants) are killed. Teens are taken captive to participate in medical experiments.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Wolverine steps up and becomes a leader.


Frequent, brutal comic-book violence, as well as real-world shootings, stabbings, and more. There's not a whole lot of blood (most of the mutants are indestructible), but characters are beaten, blown up, shot in the head, slashed with swords/claws, and impaled with blades/claws. There are human casualties, including characters who are close to Wolverine. A decapitated animal is seen, and there's another bloodless, special-effects decapitation. There's also war violence (from the Civil War to the Vietnam era) and vivid, graphic medical/experimentation imagery.


A committed couple cuddles and makes out. A young woman is seen being abducted by a soldier, presumably for sexual purposes, but he's interrupted. Nude male buttocks are shown in an action-scene context.


Occasional strong language includes "screwed," "s--t," "bulls--t," "damn, "a--hole," "hell," "ass," "oh my God," and "goddamn."


Tie-in to vast quantities of related merchandise. A few minimally visible brands, including Everlast, Budweiser, and Chevrolet. The film is being extensively cross-marketed, including a "Got Milk?" ad.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An unlit cigar is chewed on and then shot out of a character's mouth. Characters drink beer and hard liquor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn't as tween-friendly as the earlier X-Men movies. Although many of the mutants are pretty indestructible, the action in this comic book prequel is still bloodier than in the previous films, thanks to the fact that much of it is carried out with the slashing edge of a claw, talon, or blade. There's also war violence, gunplay, a decapitated animal, and scary/grisly images of medical experiments, as well as kids being taken captive. Also expect mild male nudity (non-sexual shot of bare buttocks), and some drinking and swearing ("s--t" is as strong as it gets).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5, 10, and 13-year-old Written byshadowfc September 30, 2009

Too much of this, that, and the other

I've started reviewing movies here primarily because my 13 year old is the trend setter of the family. I have two younger daughters and would never let th... Continue reading
Adult Written bychaplainbecky September 25, 2011

Brutal, Violent, Little Positive Message

Compared to the first two where there was morals, this seemed devoid of much moral value -- more like repetitive fight scenes over and over, killing, brutal wit... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 20, 2010

An awful X-Men movie

The violence is terrible. This is a PG-13 movie and I think it is even unsuitable for people at 17. There is gore, murdered and constant disgusting scenes. I th... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMarvelUniverse June 6, 2021
X-Men: Wolverine Origins is a really good movie with a gripping plot. If you are an X-Men fan, then you will probably be happy to see appearances from (spoilers... Continue reading

What's the story?

Set before the events of the X-Men franchise, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE tells the story of Hugh Jackman's quick-healing, metal-clawed superhuman superhero (aka Logan), from fighting wars to joining a special superhuman dirty tricks group; from walking away in disgust to coming back for vengeance. Wolverine's old employer, Col. William Stryker (Danny Huston), offers him the medical-scientific upgrades to make his revenge possible, but Wolverine learns that it's all part of a much bigger plan to make an ultimate killing machine that Stryker can pit against all mutantkind. Can Wolverine -- who stands alone -- step up, be a leader, and save the day?

Is it any good?

Much like the over-stuffed, over-done X-Men: The Last Stand, this is a fairly bloated film with too many characters, too much comic book trivia, and, ironically, not enough Wolverine. "More" in this case doesn't mean "better"; here, it's simply too much, with supporting characters crowding out the lead.

The action scenes are acceptable, even though X-Men Origins: Wolverine doesn't do much with its '70s setting (since the only time-setting plot point is the Three Mile Island disaster, it's not always clear when all this is happening). Jackman has a real charm and a sly sense of humor; regrettably, the film doesn't give him much to do with either of them. And while Huston and co-star Liev Schreiber are charismatic in their bad-guy roles, the fact that the film bypasses them in favor of a silent, speechless ultimate bad guy detracts from their work. Wolverine feels like it was produced by people who were more interested in making money and selling toys than they were in telling a coherent, fun story, and the film suffers for it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the violence in X-Men Origins: Wolverine has more impact than that of the earlier X-Men movies. Why or why not? 

  • How are Wolverine's fights different than those of characters with different powers/abilities? Is he comfortable with his strength? How does he control it?

  • The film seems to be saying that you can make the choice to not kill an enemy -- but is that message clear amid the high body count?

  • Discuss the appeal of comic book movies. Why do audiences like them so much?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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